Roraback Bills to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence Receive Unanimous Support in Judiciary

April 13, 2007

Legislation will better protect people and pets, and allow police to issue weekend restraining orders

Hartford, CT – Two bills introduced by State Senator Andrew Roraback (R-Goshen) to strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence received unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee late Thursday.

S.B. 284, An Act Concerning the Protection of Pets in Domestic Violence Cases, permits a judge issuing domestic violence restraining orders to include a prohibition on harming or taking possession of a pet as part of the order.

“You don’t have to think very long, or very hard to understand how pets could be put at risk in the context of a domestic abuse case,” said Senator Roraback. “Abusers will often threaten to maim or kill pets as a way of emotionally terrorizing their spouses, partners and children. This law aims to protect both people and their pets from this despicable behavior.”

Senator Roraback worked with several of his constituents and animal welfare groups from throughout the state to bring this matter to the legislature. Connecticut will join Maine, Vermont and New York in protecting animals in this way when this bill becomes law. The legislative session in 2007 will adjourn on June 6.

H.B. 7313, An Act Concerning Domestic Violence, also passed out of Judiciary Thursday. The bill would give police departments the authority to issue protective orders in domestic violence cases when the courts are not open to do so. Under current law, police have no authority to prevent someone arrested for domestic abuse from returning to a home shared with the victim until a court appearance is held.

“This bill will allow police to prohibit those arrested for domestic violence crimes who make bail from having any further contact with the victim until the courts are open and can issue a proper restraining order,” said Senator Roraback. “Victims of domestic violence need this protection. Without this law, police officers are too often forced to release domestic abusers back into the homes of the victims they’ve just assaulted. It is a dangerous practice, and one we can avoid.”

Senator Roraback has worked closely with advocates for the domestic violence community and state officials to craft this legislation. He has met on several occasions with current and former Chief State’s Attorneys as well as representatives from the Judicial Branch, the State Police Chief’s Association, and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Roraback’s Domestic Violence bill passed the state Senate in 2006, but was never brought up for a vote on the floor of the House.

Senator Roraback is an Assistant Minority Leader and represents the 30th district communities of Brookfield, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington, Warren, Washington, and Winchester.